Every NBA fan is well-versed when it comes to the magic carpet ride that the Chicago Bulls took us on in the 1990s. They were the team of the decade, led by a player for the ages in Michael Jordan.
Jordan, fellow all-time great Scottie Pippen, and head coach Phil Jackson combined forces to find unprecedented success together. The trio captured not only six world championships together but the also hearts and imaginations of hoops fans worldwide.
The Bulls were as entertaining as they were successful. It was as if they were playing the lead in a basketball blockbuster – with a cast of characters like no other. Hall of Famers Dennis Rodman and Toni Kukoc, versatile power forward Horace Grant, and shooters like John Paxson and Steve Kerr were some of the prominent supporting stars.
Whether you like their first three-peat or the always-popular sequel, this team provided some of the best basketball we have ever witnessed. And even though some of the players mentioned above became essentially household names during their time as the kings of the court, a few of them came and went with little fanfare. Every good title team has a supporting cast.
In the Bulls’ case, their backups’ backups were made up of former foes, established veterans, and a couple of guys who just stopped in for a cup of coffee. However, they can still say they were part of an amazing era in NBA lore.
Here are 5 Players you probably FORGOT were part of the Chicago Bulls Dynasty of the 90s.
5 Players You May Have Forgot Were Part of the Bulls Dynasty in the ’90s
#1 – Rodney McCray (1992-93 Chicago Bulls)
McCray was a pivotal member of the NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals in 1980 along with his brother, Scooter, and future NBA stars Darrell Griffith and Derek Smith. Griffith would go on to eventually be enshrined in the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
When he entered the NBA in 1983, McCray was highly-regarded, and it was believed he could be a perennial All-Star. He was chosen third overall in that year’s draft by Houston. McCray would go on to be a role player and specialist, part of those tough Rockets playoffs teams of the 80s that featured the Twin Towers.
Injuries slowed McCray and he eventually ended up in Chicago, where he would be a part of the 92-93 championship squad. He averaged 3.5 points per game and retired after that season.
#2 – Bison Dele (1997)
Formerly known as Brian Williams, the forward was a pivotal player for Lute Olsen at Arizona, before being selected 10th overall by the Orlando Magic in 1991. Williams would later change his name to Bison Dele in honor of his African American and Cherokee heritage.
He would play a handful of productive seasons for three different teams before joining the Bulls for the 1996-97 season. He chipped in 7.0 points and 3.7 rebounds on a loaded team. He would depart for the Pistons the following year, where he had his two best NBA seasons. In fact, Dele averaged a career-high in Detroit in 1998 with 16.2 ppg.
Unfortunately, that’s not where the story ends. Dele will sadly be known mostly for the tragic way that his story seemingly ended on July 7, 2002. Known as a free spirit, Dele was boating with some family and friends off the coast of Tahiti when he and his girlfriend disappeared. However, there was much more to the incident than a simple missing person case.
Dele’s brother, Miles Dabord, was the passenger who was seen or heard from again. Dabord returned in the boat to Tahiti. He was alone; the basketballer, his girlfriend Serena Karlan, and Bertrand Saldo, the boat’s captain, were all missing.
In his statement, Dabord claimed that he and Dele had gotten into a fight and that Karlan had been accidentally hit and died. When Saldo attempted to report her death, a panicked Dele killed him; Dabord then shot his brother in self-defense and threw the bodies overboard. That’s when he says he returned to shore.
The problem? There were lots of holes in Dabord’s story, including a paper trail of money that belonged to Dele. Police suspect Dabord killed his brother, his brother’s girlfriend, and the ship’s captain for both personal reasons and financial gain.
To this day, Dele is listed as ‘missing’, because his body was never recovered from the waters. However, he will likely never know the real story. Dabord died in a California hospital in September 2002.
#3 – Craig Hodges (1988-92)
Craig Hodges was another hometown hoops hero, having starred at Rich East High School before a collegiate career at Long Beach State. He entered the NBA as a lightly-regarded third-round selection of the then-San Diego Clippers in 1982.
The following years weren’t terrible for Hodges, and he even had some success when he eventually became a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. But it was in Chicago where would have his most success and notoriety
Hodges joined the Bulls during the 1988 season, and the deadeye shooter would go on to win the NBA’s Three-Point Contest three times while a member of the time. While he may have been a role player, he provided some clutch three-pointers during the team’s first two championships.
Hodges would not be around in year three, however, as the team released him prior to the 1992-93 season.
#4 and #5 – James Edwards (1995-96) & John Salley (1996)
1995-96 was the year the Bulls went Bad… As Bad as They Wanted to Be.
In a move that many felt was like making a deal with the devil, the team acquired former Piston nemesis, Dennis Rodman. The Worm was acquired via a trade from the Spurs, along with Jack Haley, for center Will Perdue.
It turned out to be a marriage made in heaven as a bit of a merger of the two most dominant division teams of the last decade almost combined their philosophies. The team still possessed the ‘sports car game’ of skilled players like Jordan, Pippen, and Kukoc. But they also had Rodman’s diesel-fueled defense there to back them up.
The best rebounder in the game did the dirty work, the scorers lit it up, and the Bulls cruised to a 72-win season and their fourth NBA crown. They would, of course, add two more before it was all said and done.
Rodman wasn’t the only Piston to make the pilgrimage to The Windy City, however. Two of his former teammates on Detroit’s back-to-back NBA Champions also rode into town looking for another title.
A tough post player, James Edwards was one of the Bad Boys on the Block. They were Chuck Daly’s Destroyers – the guys that were always ready to knock Jordan or Pippen out of the sky if they dared tried to drive to the basket. At seven feet tall, ‘Buddha’ worked perfectly with fellow center Bill Laimbeer, as the pair made potential scorers pay a price in the paint.
Ironically, he would be joined by another one of those Detroit Devils in John Salley, who signed with Chicago in March and remained on the roster throughout the playoffs. Along with Edwards, he would get his third ring while a member of the Bulls.
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